Try It On: Middle Class Fashion

Story: Madisyn Siebert Photos: Cory Weaver

Once I arrived at Off Broadway, I followed the Pizza Hut delivery driver to the side stage doors and was ushered upstairs to the green room—and I mean it when I say green, because it was quite literally a neon lime green room. There, all the members, except Brad Vaughn, who was unintentionally locked outside for the second time that day I was told, were waiting for me. Jenn Malzone, the lead vocalist and songwriter for Middle Class Fashion, immediately moved from her chair and took a seat on the black floor, the band all reaching for pizza to fuel up for the concert later that evening.



Once I arrived at Off Broadway, I followed the Pizza Hut delivery driver to the side stage doors and was ushered upstairs to the green room—and I mean it when I say green, because it was quite literally a neon lime green room. There, all the members, except Brad Vaughn, who was unintentionally locked outside for the second time that day I was told, were waiting for me. Jenn Malzone, the lead vocalist and songwriter for Middle Class Fashion, immediately moved from her chair and took a seat on the black floor, the band all reaching for pizza to fuel up for the concert later that evening.


MCF was formed back in early 2010 with Jenn and Brad. Lindsey McDaniel, Matt Basler and Dylan Clubb joined in on the fun when the band began expanding their sound. They can agree the three helped accomplish the goal, but they maybe can’t agree on when each member “officially” joined the band.


Change is inevitable when you’ve been a band since 2010, and when prompted about it Jenn replied, “I feel like we've changed our sound a lot, but the songs as far as the structure and content have been pretty consistent.” Jenn is the perfect person to answer this as the lead songwriter for the band. She brings melodies and lyrics to the table and relies on the rest of her bandmates to help bring the vision to life.


And the vision seems to be constantly changing according to Jenn, “We were a piano pop band and it was fun, but then I just felt the itch.” She continued, “I wanna feel like a cool band. I wanted to be like a synth band. So, we did that for a while, but then I started to miss the guitar sound and wanted to have a real guitar rock band that we've never done before. There have been times where I've been really into hip hop. It just kind of goes in these different directions.”


When asked about her lyrics and themes in their music, Jenn’s first reaction was, “Well, hold on, let me think of something cool to say,” which aroused a round of laughs from the band. She sat and thought for a second before answering. “You don't see your own stuff ’cause you're in it. And then when someone kind of on the outside looks at it, they can see it in a clearer way than you can,” she said. She may have her own themes in mind, or stories she is sharing, but she encourages people to enjoy them on their own, through their own interpretations.


During this time of sound exploration, MCF was able to make memories together, including playing South by Southwest. Their favorite part was actually the drive to the festival—yes, the drive. I was thrusted into the story of how they only had one showcase set up and not a lot of people came to it with it being more last-minute, but the drive was unanimously everyone’s favorite. There were mad libs, and a little stir-craziness, but what seemed to be the most important part was the bond the band formed together on the road.



Middle Class Fashion, St. Louis, Cory Weaver Photo
Dylan Clubb, Matt Basler, Jenn Malzone, Lindsey McDaniel and Brad Vaughn have a ‘Magical Soulmate Band Bond’


But, when Covid-19 hit their world, similar to everyone else's, it paused. “We've kind of been on our own little island, which in a way has been fun,” Jenn explained. “You know, I feel like we're in our own little world, like we have been for the past year or two.”


The band planned on releasing their latest album, Scary, in spring of 2020, but when the pandemic started, they didn’t know what to do and ended up dropping the album later that fall. It was the first album that they didn’t get to play live at their listening party due to being precautious. “I feel like we did it a disservice,” Lindsey said, with sadness lingering in her voice.


Jenn further explained their rationale on why they released the album, even if they couldn’t give Scary the proper announcement it deserved. “When you make an album and you just sit on it for so long, it just doesn't even feel fresh or new to you anymore,” she said. “So, then you're trying to get excited and release something.”


But, don’t feel too bad for MCF. They explained how they are back at Suburban Pro Studios working on an EP. Instead of dropping albums, the band is looking into dropping smaller releases like EPs and singles into the world for a more constant stream of their music.


The band itself is full of lightheartedness, and everyone’s conversation aroused a story from the group, whether that was the plan to watch “Mrs. Doubtfire” together soon or recalling jokes from earlier that morning. I have never felt so immersed in laughter either, with the band constantly cracking jokes, and Matt, the drummer, mostly contributing to the group’s wit and being the band’s in-house comedian.


This all being said, a phrase that Jenn coined early on in the interview stuck with me as I conversed with them. “We have a magical soulmate band bond.” I have never seen such fluid thoughts travel from one person to another. I felt like the room could read each other’s minds and I was merely a spectator watching this bond unfold in front of me.


This bond clearly translates to their music and how they can perform as a unit. Each show is a new adventure and, according to Jenn, they even “span a range of emotions, joy, terror and sometimes just awkwardness.” She is also not one to necessarily plan her sentence before she starts talking, but she finds her way in the journey, leading to a never fully regimented show and making each one unique.


This is a true St. Louis band, finding and evolving their sound as they go and playing gigs for the thrill of being able to be on stage with their bandmates, but more importantly their friends. Jenn’s writing and melody searching brings the band to new fronts and is why you need to go see Middle Class Fashion live. If you can’t see them in person then live stream them on your preferred music streaming platform.